How are students taught?

Students have seven 45 minute periods of chemistry a week. This time is spent in the following three ways:

  • carrying out experiments individually in the laboratory
  • studying the chemical concepts and ideas that explain the experimental results in the taught sessions
  • applying these chemical concepts to new situations in problem-solving sessions

All the chemistry sessions are interactive and thorough. Students are encouraged learn from each other as well as from the lecturers. This means students are free to ask the lectures and tutors questions, to discuss their work with other students and to take time to make sure they fully understand the material. The educational benefits for a student who is active and responsible in the learning process are stressed. The chemistry course is not just about making students better at chemistry, it is also about giving students the confidence and scientific skills for their future careers. For this reason, the course does not cover a vast number of topics, but rather delves in detail into a fewer fundamentally important issues.
The structured learning experiences (described below) offered on the course use student-centred materials and trained tutors to support and develop the students' practical, reasoning and interpretive skills.

Practical chemistry in the laboratory

Emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of chemistry, and students attend a weekly session in the laboratory. Students carry out an experiment using the instructions given in their laboratory manual and write up the report on their findings. This work is done independently, although with support from demonstrators, so that each student can become proficient at the practical skills.

Taught sessions

These are lecturer-led sessions where the chemical principles and ideas behind the practical work are discussed. Other related chemistry theory is also introduced. This is also an opportunity for students to raise questions on things they want to have a better understanding of or are unsure of.

Examples classes

These problem-solving sessions run for 7 weeks in the first semester. Students are given problems to do during the session which reinforce the material covered in the taught sessions. Students learn how to apply a problem solving approach to reading, understanding and answering questions. These sessions are supported by the lecturer and at least one additional post-graduate student tutor.

Small group tutorials

In the second semester students, in groups of about 12, meet with a chemistry tutor once a week. The students are given out a tutorial problem booklet at the start of the semester and prepare the answers for group discussion at the tutorial.

Foundation Chemistry                           View module outline                          Assessment procedures

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